Tuesday, August 24, 2010

High levels of blood sugar

High levels of blood sugar, especially over long periods of time, can result in complications of other body functions. Uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to long term complications such as heart disease, skin problems, digestive problems, erectile dysfunction, kidney, eye complications and teeth and gum problems. This does not mean that the prognosis is dire for people with diabetes - by fallowing a few simple guidelines and taking necessary precautions, these complications can be successfully prevented.

Typical complications and their prevention
The following are some of the most likely complications from an untreated or neglected diabetic condition and tips for their prevention.

Heart disease and stroke:
Diabetes contributes to a thickening of the blood vessels and consequently, problems with blood circulation leading to a higher risk of cardiac problems and stroke.

1. Aggressively control blood sugar.
2. Proactively monitor and control modifiable risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure and high cholesterol.
3. Quit smoking.
4. Consult your doctor on whether a daily dose of aspirin and statins will help you.

Diabetic nephropathy:
Diabetic nephropathy is a progressive kidney disease caused by damage to renal tissue due to high blood sugar.

Undergo the blood and urine tests recommended by your doctor. Doctors usually ask for Micro albumin urea at the first step to assess if there is damage to the kidneys. Other than this Creatinine blood tests, which assess kidney function and urine tests to check for the presence of protein in the urine are also asked.
Control your blood pressure.
Restrict protein intake if advised by your doctor. Aggressively control blood sugar.

Eye problems:
Diabetic retinopathy (Damage to the retina -the lining of the interior of the eye), cataract and glaucoma (Increased pressure in the eyes) are some of the eye problems that a person with diabetes may develop.

1. Have a comprehensive check of your vision every year.
2. Rigorously control blood sugar and blood pressure.
3. If you are pregnant it is very important to have an eye exam during your first 3 months of pregnancy.

Peripheral neuropathy:
Peripheral neuropathy affects sensations especially in the legs and feet. Since a person
with diabetes has a decreased ability to perceive pain many injuries can go unnoticed. Similarly, because of difficulty in perceiving changes in position, you may have difficulty in bearing weight properly and are at risk for developing calluses and ulcers on your feet.

Prevention :
This is one of the most easily preventable complications of diabetes. Ensure that you diligently check your feet everyday for ulcers cuts or sores.
See your doctor in case of any foot injury or ulcer. Do not try to treat them yourself.
Use footwear that cover your feet - do not walk barefoot or use open toed shoes or slippers.
Aggressively control blood sugar.

Skin problems:
Some of the skin problems that may be associated with diabetes are candidiasis, diabetic
dermopathy or skin spots, digital sclerosis, rashes and blisters, and fungal infections.

Do not ignore spots, rashes or blisters-get them checked by your doctor.
Follow high standards of personal hygiene to prevent fungal infections.
Aggressively control blood sugar.

Other complications:
In addition to the above people with uncontrolled diabetes are also at higher risk for disorders such as gastro paresis, sexual dysfunction and depression.

While some of the complications associated with diabetes are life-threatening, there is no need for undue alarm. On the other hand, the possibility of such complications is one more reason for timely diagnosis and treatment. To summarize, follow these simple guidelines to lower the risks of developing such complications.

1. Stay committed : Stay committed to your diabetic care regimen. Regularly monitor your blood sugar and take medication as advised by your doctor.
2. Exercise regularly : Regular exercise goes a long way in staying off heart disease and stroke. Start and then adhere to an exercise program of your choice.
3. Maintain your blood pressure and cholesterol within acceptable limits. Ensure that the blood pressure and cholesterol levels are within the range acceptable for your age.
4. Have a comprehensive health and eye checkup every year : Do not skip your annual physical examination. Early detection is the key to the prevention of many of the diabetes - related complications.
5. Check your feet : People with diabetes need to examine their feet everyday for sores, blisters and cuts. If untreated, even a small cut can develop into serious complications.
6. Drink responsibly : If you do drink then keep it to a minimum and never drink alcohol on an empty stomach as this could lead to hypoglycemia.
7. Quit smoking: Smoking increases the risk of various diabetes complications, especially heart disease and stroke.
8. Ensure personal and dental hygiene : People with diabetes are at higher risk for gum and skin infections.

It is vitally important that one is not just aware of the complications of uncontrolled diabetes but also take the first steps towards its management. The risk of diabetes-related complications can be effectively mitigated by following the simple steps outlined above. More importantly have a positive attitude and remember that leading a healthy life is in your hands. Take charge now for a healthier tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment